- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Californians with homes damaged in wildfires that ravaged the state in 2017 and 2018 have yet to see a cent of the $1.3 billion in federal aid Congress authorized, a report said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times blamed federal and state bureaucratic delays with resulting in victims of the fires to be still waiting for assistance several years after their homes were destroyed.

More than 18,000 homes in California were destroyed by wildfires in 2017 and 2018, and Congress subsequently approved roughly $1.3 billion in federal relief funding, the L.A. Times reported.

Among the funds are hundreds of millions of dollars meant to finance new housing for low-income renters, rebuild single-family homes, and repair and improve damaged infrastructure, the report said.

But nearly three years since Congress began to authorize that assistance, Californians expect to only soon begin to benefit from any of those funds, the according to the L.A. Times.

California state housing officials were required to create spending plans for the funds that would then be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the newspaper reported.

HUD took almost two years to approve California’s plans for the $300 million authorized following the 2017 fires, and it approved its plans for the other $1 billion last week, the report said.

State housing officials anticipate money approved by Congress in response to the 2018 wildfires may become available in early 2021, the L.A. Times reported.

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